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8. Yea, the sparrow hath found her an house, and the swallow a nest where she may lay her young: even thy altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God.
4. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be alway praising thee.
5. Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee: in whose heart are thy ways.
6. Who going through the vale of misery, use it for a well (c): and the pools are (d) filled with water.
7. They will go from strength (e) to strength: and rV) unto the God of gods appeareth every one of them in Sion.
8. O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer: hearken, O God or Jacob.
for the use of the people at their stated times of going up to Jerusalem to worship, to animate them on the way. See the note on the 122d Psalm.
(c) v. 6. "Use it for a well, &c." i. e. (perhaps) " turn even their hardships to "good account;" or " go through the « vale of misery," (a place remarkable for drought,) "with as much spirit as if it "abounded with wells, and was filled with 41 pools of water."
(d) " And the pools are," i. e. "and as "if the pools were."
(e) v. 7. "Go from strength, &c." i. e. "constantly gain fresh strength and vigour; "advancing from one degree to another:" or " from one fastness or resting-place to * another."
(g) "And," i. e. (perhaps) "until." The meaning is probably this: "Who go "through the vale of misery as though it «' abounded with wells, and were filled "with pools of water: they gain strength "as they advance, till at length they appear "before the God of gods in Sion."
(A) e. 11. " A door-keeper, &c." A contrast is perhaps intended between the words "door-keeper" and "dwell:" and the meaning may be, "I had rather "fill the lowest office in God's house, "than have a splendid residence in the '* tents of ungodliness."
9. Behold, O God our defender: and look upon the face of thine Anointed.
10. For one day in thy courts: is better than a thousand.
11. I had rather be a doorkeeper (h) in the house of my God: than to (A) dwell in the tents of ungodliness.
12. For the Lord God is a light and defence: the Lord will give grace and worship; and no good thing shall he withhold from them that live a godly life.
13. O Lord God of hosts: blessed is the man that putteth his trust in thee.
Psalm lxxxv. (»)
Jjord, thou art become gracious (A) unto thy land: thou hast
(i) A thankful remembrance of some great deliverance, and an anxious prayer for a continuance of God's favour. It was probably written in Ezra's time, after the return from the Babylonish captivity, during some of the oppositions to their rebuilding the temple. According to Eira, iv. 4. the people of the land weakened their hands, and troubled them in building; and the work was put an end to, by an order of Artaxerxes, for about nine years; it might be during this interval, whilst their release from Babylon was fresh in their minds, and whilst the full completion of their hopes, by the rebuilding of the temple, was still interrupted, that this Psalm was written. la commenting on Isaiah xlv. 8. Bishop Lowth says, "the 85th Psalm is a very "• elegant ode on the same subject with "this part of Isaiah's prophecies, the "restoration of Judah from captivitv. "and is, in the most beautiful part of it, (from verse 9 to the end), "a manifest "imitation of this passage," (i. e. Isaiah xlv. 8. &c.) He adds also, that "in both "passages the coincidence of mercy ana "truth (v. 10.) must look forward to the "great redemption by the Messiah." This" one of the proper Psalms for Christmas Day.
(*) v. 1. " Gracious." Jeremiah had foretold distinctly, that they should "arm
turned away the captivity of Jacob.
2. Thou hast forgiven the offence of thy people : and covered all their sins.
3. Thou hast taken away all thy displeasure: and turned thyself from thy wrathful indignation.
4. Turn us then, O God our Saviour : and let thine anger cease (/) from us.
5. Wilt thou be displeased at us for ever : and wilt thou stretch out thy wrath from one generation to another?
6. Wilt thou not turn again, and quicken us: that thy people may rejoice in thee?
7. Shew us thy mercy, O Lord: and grant us thy salvation.
8. I will hearken, what the Lord God will say concerning me : for he shall speak peace unto his people and to his saints, that they turn not (m) again.
9. For his salvation is nigh
them that fear him: that glory may dwell (ra) in our land.
10. Mercy and truth (0) are met together: righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
11. Truth shall flourish out of the earth: and righteousness hath looked down from heaven.
12. Yea, the Lord shall shew loving-kindness: and our land shall give her increase.
13. Righteousness shall go before him: and he shall direct (jp) his going in the way.
Bow down thine ear, O Lord, and hear me : for I am poor arid in misery.
2. Preserve thou my soul (r), for I am holy: my God, save thy servant that putteth his trust in thee.
3. Be merciful unto me, O
"the king of Babylon seventy years. "Jer. xxv. 11." and xxix. 10. " Thus "saith the Lord, that after seventy "years be accomplished at Babylon, I "will visit you, and perform my good word "toward you, in causing you to return to "this place, &c." The completion of this promise would have convinced them that they were still in God's thoughts, and would make them still more importunate for a further proof of his favour, in overcoming the resistances they still experienced.
(/) 0. 4. "Cease," i. e. " entirely cease."
(m) v. 8. "Turn not," i. e. (perhaps) "rebel," " fall off."
(n) v. 9. " That glory may dwell, &c." i- e. (probably) " that our land may again "be in a state of glory."
(0) v. 10. "Truth," i. e." justice;" "peace," i. e. " forgiveness." The meaning probably is, "mercy is made consis"tent with justice. Though God has at
"length pardoned, he has first attended "to the demands of justice." It has been remarked of the Christian dispensation, that though it is a system of the utmost mercy, yet by requiring such a sacrifice as Jesus Cnrist, God has satisfied whatjusttce would require. He might have pardoned upon repentance without a Mediator, or without such a one as Christ; but the claims of justice would not have been so well satisfied, nor would God's abhorrence of sin have been so strongly marked. See 1. Clarke's Attrib. 309.
(p) v. 13. " He shall direct, &c." or "sha B. T.
all set us in the way of his steps.'
(q) An anxious prayer to God in time of danger. It is supposed to have been written by David, and to have been used and perhaps altered by Hezekiah, when Sennacherib king of Assyria threatened Jerusalem.
(r) v. 2. " Soul," i. e. " life."
Lord: for I will (s) call daily (t) upon thee.
4. Comfort the soul of thy servant : for unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
5. For thou, Lord, art good and gracious : and of great mercy unto all them that call upon thee.
6. Give ear, Lord, unto my prayer : and ponder the voice of my humble desires.
7. In the time of my trouble I will call upon thee : for thou hearest me.
8. Among the gods (u) there is none like unto thee, O Lord: there is not one that can do as thou doest.
9. All nations (.r) whom thou hast made shall come and worship thee, O Lord : and shall glorify thy Name.
10. For thou art great, and doest wondrous things : thou art God alone.
11. Teach me thy way, O Lord, and I will walk in thy truth : O knit (y) my heart unto thee, that I may fear thy Name.
12. I will thank thee, 0 Lord my God, with all my heart (z): and will praise thy Name for evermore.
13. For great is thy mercy toward me : and thou hast delivered my soul (a) from the nethermost (b) hell.
14. O God, the proud are risen against me : and the congregations of naughty men have sought after my soul (a), and have not set thee (c) before their eyes.
15. But thou, O Lord God, art full of compassion and mercy: long-suffering, plenteous in goodness and truth.
16. O turn thee then unto me, and have mercy upon me: give thy strength unto thy servant, and help the son of thine handmaid.
17. Shew some token upon me for good, that they who hate me may see it and be ashamed : because thou, Lord, hast holpen me and comforted me.
Psalm Ixxxvii. (d)
Her foundations (e) are upon
(s) v. 3. "Will call," or " call." He is stating not what he would do, but what he had done.
(t) " Daily," or " all the day-long." So Hebr. and Sept.
(u) v. 8. "The gods," i. e. (probnbly) "the objects of heathen worship; or " the greatest powers." Part of the insulting message from Rabshakeh to Hezekiah (2 Kings xix. 12.) was, "have the gods "of the nations delivered them which my "fathers have destroyed ;" and Hezekiah observes, (verse 17,-18.) that " of a truth "the kings of Assyria had cast their gods "into the fire, for they were no gods." In Ps. lxxxii. 1. God is said to be " a judge "among gods;" and Ps. Ixxxix. 7. the question is put, "What is he among the "gods, that shall be like unto the Lord?"
(x) v. 9. " All nations, &c." "From the "signal instances of thy protection and "power.'' So in the prophetic Psalm, xxii. 27. " All the ends of the world shall re
"member themselves, and be turned unto "the Lord, and all the kindreds of the "nations shall worship before him." See the note there, ante, 279.
(y) v. 11. " Knit my heart:" a strong expression, to denote the closest union: that his heart may never stray.
(z) v. 12. "With all my heart," not with the lips only.
(a) v. 13, 1*. "Soul," i. e. "life."
(b) " Nethermost hell," i. e. "the grent"est dangers."
(c) v. 1*. "Not set thee;" "have not "been restrained by any fear of thee; "have not considered that they were in "thy sight;" "have disregarded thee."
(d) A hymn in praise of Jerusalem, on account of its situation, God's attachment to it, and the number of eminent person* it had produced.
(e) v. 1. "Her foundations," i.e. " the "foundations of Jerusalem."
the holy hills : the Lord loveth the gates of Sion more than all the dwellings (g~) of Jacob.
2. Very excellent things are spoken of thee : thou city of God.
3. I will think upon (K) Rahab (1) and Babylon : with (k) them that know me.
4. Behold ye the Philistines also : and they of Tyre, with the Morians (J); lo, there was he (m) born.
5. And (n) of Sion it shall be reported, that he (0) was born in her : and the Most High shall stablish her.
6. The Lord shall rehearse it, when he writeth up the people (p) : that he (y) was born there.
7. The singers also and trumpeters shall he (r) rehearse : all my fresh springs (■?) shall be in thee.
Psalm lxxxviii. (t)
0 Lord God of my salvation,
1 have cried day and night before thee : O let my prayer enter into thy presence; incline thine ear unto my calling.
2. For my soul is full of trouble : and my life draweth nigh unto hell. («)
3. I am counted as one of them that go down into the pit : and I have been even as a man that hath no strength;
4. Free among (#) the dead, like unto them that are wounded, and lie in the grave : who are out of remembrance, and are cut away from thy hand.
5. Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit : in a place of darkness, and in the deep.
6. Thine indignation lieth hard upon me : and thou hast vexed me with all thy storms.
(g) " All the dwellings," i. e. "all the "other dwellings."
(A) v. 3. "I will think upon," i. e. "compare her with."
(i) " Rahab," i. e. " Egypt."
(i) " With them that know me," or "for men of knowledge." Street.
(1) v. 4. "Morians," i. e. " the Ara"bians." Sept. " The Ethiopians."
(hi) " He," i. e. "some one or two great "men." The meaning is supposed to be, that in looking to Egypt, to Babylon, &c. some Jew great men will be found to have been born there, but that abundantly more have been born in Jerusalem; for every one that Rahab, &c. could reckon, Jerusalem might reckon many.
(n) v. 5. " And," or " but."
(0) "He," or " this and that man;" (B. T.) to signify numbers. The original '8, "Man and man," Sept.: avSpc«-o< *a<
(p) v. 6. "Writeth up the people," i. e. "registers the nations: alluding to what was the practice in those times, the inrolling or taking an account of all the people. See Ezek. xiii. 9. One of the denunciations against the prophets, who were misleading the Jews, is, "They shall not
"be written in the writing of the house "of Israel," i. e. " they shall not be re"gistered as Israelites."
(q) "He" i. e. "such and such per"sons."
(r) v. 7. "He," should be omitted; it is not in the original; and then, "all my "fresh springs, &c." is what the singers, &c. shall rehearse.
(*) "Fresh springs," i. e. " ablest «' men."
(t) A Psalm of lamentation, written probably by a person in prison, or by a leper. By the Levitical law, a leper was to " dwell alone, Levit. xiii. 46.," and when God smote Azariah, the king of Judah, so that he was a leper unto the day of his death, he dwelt from thenceforth in a several house. (See 2 Kings xv. 5.) It is one of the proper Psalms for Good Friday; probably selected, because some of its passages were applicable to our Saviour at his death, and during his continuance in the grave.
(u) t>. 2. " Hell," i. e. "death," " the "grave."
(x) v. 4. " Free among," i. e. (perhaps) "of fellowship with," "of their commu"nity."
7. Thou hast put away mine acquaintance far from me : and made me to be abhorred of them.
8. I am so fast in prison : that I cannot get forth.
9. My sight faileth for very trouble : Lord, I have called daily upon thee, I have stretched forth my hands unto thee.
10. Dost thou shew wonders among the dead : or shall the dead rise up again, and praise thee?
11. Shall thy loving-kindness be shewed in the grave : or thy faithfulness in destruction?
12. Shall thy wondroUs works be known in the dark : and thy righteousness in the land where all things are forgotten?
13. Unto thee have I cried, O
(y) v. 13. "Shall," or "hath:" he is speaking, not of what he mould do, but of what he had done. The Hebr. verb is in the preter, not in the future.
(z) 0. 15. " Thy terrors, &c." i. e. "I "have had afflictions from thee all my "life."
Lord : and early (y) shall my prayer come before thee.
14. Lord, why abhorrest thou my soul : and hidest thou thy face from me?
15. I am in misery, and like unto him that is at the point to die : even from my youth up thy terrors (2) have I suffered with a troubled mind.
16. Thy wrathful displeasure goeth over me : and the fear of thee hath undone me.
17. They (a) came round about me daily like water (b) : and compassed me together on every side.
18. (c) My lovers and friends hast thou put away from me: and hid mine acquaintance out of my sight
(a) v. 17. "They," i. e. indefinitely, "multitudes."
(b) "Like water," i. e. (perhaps)" press"ing as closely upon me as water wouli
(c) v. 18. See Ps. xxxi. IS. — xxxviii. 11.
Letsorujbr the Seventeenth Day of the Month throughout the Year.
(1) ante, 91. (2) ante, 30. (3) ante, 100. (4) ante, 422. (5) ante, 91. (6) ante, 100. 1«5'
(7) ante, 152. 147. (8) ante, 219. 227. (9) ante, 205. (10) ante, 181.